Our Board of Directors

Philip Smith – Executive Director

  • Former Director of Planning and Development, City of Spencer
  • Former West Virginia Council Chair and Distinguished Service Award recipient for Trout Unlimited
  • Leader on Birthplace of Rivers National Monument Campaign; Conservation Specialist for WV Rivers Coalition
  • Fifteen year employee of West Virginia Department of Agriculture
  • West Virginia native, cider apple orchardist, and trails advocate

As a seventh generation West Virginian who cherishes the connection between our Appalachian heritage and our natural environment, I believe that idyllic, public spaces like the WVBG are central to our region’s story. The partnership between the public and nature is so impressive here, enhanced by the well-executed gardens and preserved natural areas. I’m grateful to work with an exceptional staff and army of volunteers that are all motivated by a shared connection to this landscape.

– Philip

Dave Barnett – President

  • Currently an Independent Sales Representative in the Outdoor Recreation Industry

  • Active with the Morgantown Tree Board

  • From Wilmington, Del, resident of West Virginia for 28 years

  • Worked in the Landscape Industry for 10 years.

  • WVU Forestry graduate, ISA Certified Arborist

Being part of the WVBG has helped me to continue my interest in trees, plants, and environment as well as introduce people to this amazing place and community within WV. I’m happy to be a small portion of such a great organization and wonderful people within and look forward to WVBG’s future growth.

– Dave

Rod Brundage – Vice President

  • Currently employed by West Virginia University, Safety & Health Extension
  • Monongalia County Certified Master Gardener, 5+ Years
  • President Vantage Pointe Homeowners Association
  • Resident of Monongalia County for over 15 Years
For me this is the perfect combination of place and people. Having such a magnificent outdoor space, that is equally matched by the wonderful caring people who have come together to protect and celebrate it, provides a tremendous asset to our local community and our state. It is an honor to be a part of this organization.

 – Rod

Linda Bagby – Secretary

  • Retired Professional Landscape Architect
  • Active Member of the Morgantown Newcomers Club
  • Active Member of Wesley United Methodist Church
  • Resident of Morgantown since 1992
This Garden is a wonderful resource for our community! It is a place to experience the beauty of both natural and designed landscapes. It is a place where the wide diversity of plants that grow in this region can be showcased. It is a place to relax, de-stress, have a walk or run, and be inspired by new wonders every season if not every day. Best of all, it is a place where people can learn about and appreciate why we love West Virginia.

 – Linda

Jan Mitchell – Treasurer

  • Work with the Board of Education in both Harrison and Preston Counties
  • Worked as a Pharmacist at Monongalia General Hospital for 31 years
  • Active in the Service League of Morgantown since 1990, currently Treasurer
  • Active with the Mon County Master Gardeners since 2000, currently serving as President
  • Active with Valley Hills Garden Club 2014-Present, currently Vice President
  • West Virginia Garden Club, Landscape Design School Chairman 2016-Present
  • Also an active member of the Suncrest United Methodist Church Staff Parrish and Prayer Quilt Ministry
No matter what the season there is always something to see at the West Virginia Botanic Garden. It is serene and beautiful.

 – Jan

Nancy Abrams 

  • Writer & photographer; former journalist
  • Author, The Climb from Salt Lick: A Memoir of Appalachia, published by West Virginia University Press
  • Monongalia County Special Olympics, Executive committee
  • WVU Campus Club, Former president,
  • Co-owner and board member of communally owned farm in Preston County, WV
  • Resident of Morgantown for more than 20 years

I love the botanic garden because it offers different opportunities to different audiences. It is an educational experience for children and adults. It is a beautiful respite from our harried lives. Visitors can explore the intersection of the natural world and cultivated gardens. It is a glorious addition to the Morgantown community.

 – Nancy

Patrick Biafore

  • Vice President and COO of Biafore Landscape Development
  • Certified Professional Horticulturalist with a specialization in herbaceous plants
  • West Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, Board Member
  • West Virginia native
The West Virginia Botanic Garden is a hidden gem on the outskirts of Morgantown.  The Garden is rapidly growing figuratively and literally.  It provides a great educational resource for the community and for those interested in all kinds of plant material, animals, and nature in general.  The  WVBG is an asset for the community, city, and state.  It is also a wonderful place to relax, get some exercise, or enjoy a community event.

– Pat

Gregg Cave

  • Assistant Dean of Student & Alumni Services at the WVU School of Nursing
  • Native West Virginian and Monongalia Co. resident for 26 years
  • U.S. Army veteran

The West Virginia Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to introduce kids to the outdoors.  It is a classroom where they can actively participate in the beauty of nature.  An absolute WV treasure!

 – Gregg

Sheila Coleman-Castells

  • Educational and Workforce Training Legislative Advocate (Federal and State Levels)
  • Former K-12 Bilingual/Special Educator, DC Public Schools and Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools
  • Former College Professor specializing in Education and Educational Research for Students of Color and Students with Disabilities (21 years)
  • Eagle Scout Mom and Former Board Member, Boy Scouts of America Troop 22, Oakland, MD
  • Preston County resident for 15 years


The true treasure that is this garden lies not just in its natural beauty but in its safe, peaceful atmosphere. The peace envelops you and takes you in, whatever your needs, be that walking your dog and getting some exercise, walking in quiet contemplation in our labyrinth, spending quality time with your (grand) kids, or even having a wedding. The garden is a welcoming haven for everyone throughout all of our lives.

 – Sheila

Danin Cather

  • Manager, Creative Services at Mon Health System
  • Girls on the Run volunteer & coach
  • Leadership Monongalia Graduate
  • Florida native, Resident of Morgantown since 2014

I love the West Virginia Botanic Garden because it is a perfect place for friends, family and community. It is a hidden gem in Morgantown and I look forward to helping others find out about our happy place.

 – Danin

Vince Collins

  • Retired Attorney, Steptoe and Johnson, PLLC
  • WVU Law School Adjunct Faculty Member
  • Board Member, Pricketts Fort Memorial Foundation, Northern WV Pilots’ Association
  • Resident of Morgantown in 1960’s and for the past 27 years
I love the WVBG because it offers great opportunities to introduce children to the many joys of the natural world and for adults to re-connect with nature.

 – Vince

Lyn Dotson

  • Retired from WVU Foundation
  • Former Associate Dean of the WVU College of Law and Associate VP of Institutional Advancement, WVU
  • Board member of Oglebay Foundation, Pricketts Fort Foundation, Mylan Park Foundation, U Methodist Foundation of WV, Harless Center Foundation
  • Active in Suncrest UMC
  • Graduate of WV Wesleyan College
  • West Virginia native

Friends told us of the West Virginia Botanic Garden and after our initial visit, we were committed to its future. The WVBG is a special place for visitors of all ages – a hidden jewel with unlimited potential. The Garden is deserving of our support, both financially and through the volunteering of our time. The WVBG helps make the Greater Morgantown Area a wonderful place to live.

 – Lyn

Zach Fowler

  • Director, West Virginia University Core Arboretum
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, West Virginia University Department of Biology
  • Board Member, Friends of the Cheat
  • Past Board Member, Brooks Bird Club
  • Lifelong resident of West Virginia, lived in Morgantown since 2005
I think that West Virginia Botanic Garden is an excellent place to connect people with nature and gardens, and it is a treasure for our community and region.

 – Zach

Harry Grandon

  • General Manager and former Marketing Director at Morgantown Mall
  • WVU Graduate, Economics with a minor in English
  • Greater Morgantown Area CVB, Secretary and Board Member
  • Morgantown Rotary Club, Past President and Current Foundation Chair
  • Sigma Chi Fraternity Chapter Advisor
  • Morgantown Bike Board, Board Member, 
  • West Virginia native, born and raised in St. Albans

The West Virginia Botanic Garden is a hidden gem in north central West Virginia. Not only is it a beautiful natural place to visit but it hosts a wide variety of events and activities for all age groups in our community. I volunteered to serve as I want to help continue the amazing outreach this organization, the facilities and all its volunteers have had on the greater Morgantown area.

 – Harry

Shawn Grushecky

  • Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator, Energy Land Management, WVU
  • Actively volunteers with many service projects at WVU
  • Current Adviser for WVU ELM Student Association
  • Founding member and volunteer for the Mountaineer Chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association
  • Resident of Morgantown since 2011
First and foremost I love the community atmosphere of the garden.  It is a great resource for the region to meet and enjoy their natural surroundings.   The hardworking nature of all the WVBG volunteers also motivates me to try to do more for the garden to make it an even better community resource.

 – Shawn

Jenny Selin

  • 10-year elected member of Morgantown City Council
  • Former Mayor of Morgantown
  • Worked for five years as the Community Design Team Coordination at WVU
  • Started an Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site at Suncrest Primary School with WVBG Board Member Linda Bagby and 2 other moms.
My favorite trail leads from the upper parking lot along the hillside to the Solar House.  It is the secret entrance to the Garden with a view.

 – Jenny

Sally Taylor

  • Registered Nurse/Health Educator
  • Retired from the Monongalia County Board of Education and Board of Health; WVU School of Community Medicine and School of Nursing – Adjunct Faculty
  • Member of the Service League of Morgantown
  • Resident of Morgantown since 1970
I love the West Virginia Botanic Garden because it is the perfect place to unwind and get in touch with nature.  It offers a great place to give back to the community with lots of rewarding volunteer opportunities, regardless of your skills and interests.  It is such a beautiful, must-visit place.

 – Sally

Life Directors

Frank Scafella, Jr.

  • Retired – Morgantown City Council member, former Mayor

George Longenecker

  • Retired Professor of Landscape Architecture, WVU
  • Retired Executive Director of the West Virginia Botanic Garden


Cheryl Carnegie – Executive Assistant

The West Virginia Botanic Garden is an incredible place.  The grounds are stunningly beautiful in every season and it is one of the most accessible places near Morgantown to hike.  The Garden is a wonderful resource for the local community, and its progress is driven by an amazing community all its own.  The Board, Staff, and Volunteers at the WVBG are a remarkable group of people that share a common goal – a rare find.  It’s an honor to work with them.

 – Cheryl

Phil Cole – Site Manager

The West Virginia Botanic Garden is an ecological gem. The diversity here, from the majestic hemlock groves to the lively wetland habitats, offers tremendous outdoor education and research opportunities all on one site. The new welcome center has been a major catalyst of increased education programming, visitation and has spurred new beautiful gardens. The garden is a great place to unplug, unwind, and be inspired.

 – Phil

Dave Davis – Gardener

As a lifelong naturalist, gardener and entomologist, I recognize the WVBG as the ecological gem that it is.  I enjoy the diversity of the natural areas and relish the gardens that have both been in place for years or recently developed.  Look for me raking the trails, walking my dogs, or working with other volunteers as we nurture our gardens. 

 – Dave

Erin Smaldone – Education Director

The West Virginia Botanic Garden has always been one of my favorite places in Morgantown. My husband and I were married here in 2010 and we visit often with our two children. I just love the intimate feel of the place, whether it’s enjoying the sunshine while walking the Reservoir Loop Trail or the quiet peace of the forest trails. I absolutely love how the Garden changes throughout the year, from the emergence of tadpoles and leaves in the spring to the endless summer blooms and amazing fall color. Every day at the WVBG is special. I am honored to share this amazing place with all who visit.

 – Erin

Sarah Smith – Volunteer Coordinator

As a Morgantown native and long-time visitor of the West Virginia Botanic Garden, it’s very exciting to see the environmental stewardship, accessibility to nature, growth and the variety of programs that the Garden has brought to our local community. What a treasure it is to have this literally in our backyard! I am excited to see what the future holds for our local community, for the Garden staff and am eager to see our volunteers (the foundation of the Garden) grow as well. I am grateful to join them in these efforts.

 – Sarah

Maria Tallman – Environmental Educator

As a wildlife and Fisheries student, I have a love for being outdoors and teaching others about nature. At the garden, I feel so welcomed and I have learned new things everyday! Being able to be in an environment where I can teach others, learn, and relax has been very beneficial to me and I look forward to continuing my experience and growing in the garden!

 – Maria

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